Who Is behind Astana LRT?

Thanks to the scandalous idea to levy the per capita transport tax upon Astana citizens, the Astana LRT company is, once again, at the center of everyone’s attention. And since such destabilizing initiatives are infrequent among the middle-level officials, the question as to why they are proposing it is expected.

Note that Astana LRT was founded in 2011 by order of Astana City Administration under the authority of Passenger Transport and Automobile Roads Department. According to the official site of the organization, Astana LRT were to complete the following tasks:

  • creating a new transport system in Astana that would include the light-rail transit system (LRT) and the intelligent transport system (IST);
  • modernizing Astana’s transport complex;
  • implementing innovation projects in the transport sphere with the use of the new technologies;
  • managing the transport and the infrastructure.

The problem, however, is that the scale of the said tasks is so enormous that is it impossible to complete them by the means of the budget funds only.

To prove our point, we offer you the list of the projects.

“Today Astana LRT is creating the transport strategy of the city and setting up the new standards implementing the following projects:

  • LRT;
  • ITS;
  • public transportation traffic control system;
  • system of providing information to traffic participants;
  • City Bus 1.2.3
  • modernization of the public transportation route network;
  • electronic system of fare payment
  • chargeable parking facilities;
  • city taxi;
  • electronic transportation model of Astana;
  • closed bus-stop pavilions;
  • municipal bus transportation company”.

Hence the reason Astana LRT must attract investors including the private ones.

Some of these investors are named on the company site, the key investor who, apart from the significant investment potential, has influence on the Kazakhstan power vertical, however, is not mentioned. According to our inside sources, the name of this investor is Nurali Aliyev. He is the eldest grandson of President Nazarbayev and the eldest son of Senator Dariga Nazarbayeva.

For this reason, despite the scandals surrounding Astana LRT that have to do both with the managers’ unprofessionalism and the necessity of the constant government aid, Astana LRT is prospering and even receiving considerable loans from the international organizations.

Therefore, if our sources’ information is true, one may predict that the idea of imposing the per capita transport tax on Astana citizens will continue to be examined even though it has been practically swept under the carpet. There is simply no other way to ensure that the private investments in the project will be returned.


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